So what is compression in bike clothing, and how does it help me?
All close fitting bike shorts feature some amount of compression. Here’s how to decide how much compression is right for you, and how to work with that to get the best fit…
What are compression shorts, and how do they work?
The idea of compression clothing is that a tight fitting garment creates a certain amount of pressure on the blood vessels of the muscles it covers. Compression stockings have been used for a long time to help people with varicose veins, and other compression garments aid recovery for patients after surgery. The compression pressure is useful for getting more complete flow of blood through the veins.
Compression and athletic performance
During strenuous activity, muscles accumulate lactic acid, which is responsible for the sensations of fatigue and loss of power as an athlete pushes her limits. Compression clothing helps remove lactic acid more efficiently, and by improving circulation allows more fresh, oxygen-rich blood to flow into the muscle tissue. Athletes often find that compression shorts, socks, and other garments help them boost performance and recover faster from intense efforts.
Compression and comfort
Compression clothing definitely feels different because of the sensation of pressure and constriction it creates. However, the amount of compression can vary a lot. Some specialized compression garments for medical use can feel quite uncomfortable, and there are options for people in activities such as weight lifting or crossfit that would be really unsuitable for cycling. Bike shorts are made to ride in for hours, so even if they are described as high compression they are still relatively comfortable once you get used to the sensation.
That said, high compression bike shorts are not for everyone. It’s a very individual preference, and something you will only find out by trying some different options to see what works for you.
Compression and fit
Achieving high compression in bike shorts means using fabric that feels harder to stretch, so there is less flexibility with fit and sizing in high compression shorts compared to those with low compression.
A short like our Breakaway has minimal compression, which means the fabric is able to stretch more, and can adapt to fit comfortably for a wider range of body types and shapes at any particular size.
- When choosing bike shorts, or any other bike bottoms for that matter, it’s important to take compression into consideration as well as size. In general, you can balance compression and size to get the performance you want with the fit and comfort that feels best for you.
- With a high compression option you can size up to reduce the amount of compression and still enjoy a good fit, because the fabric is resistant to stretching.
- The reverse of that applies also. With a low compression short you can size down to gain more athletic compression, while the “give” in the fabric still allows it to fit well.
High compression bike shorts for high performance
- Our long-time best-loved Bella Short features high compression, along with the Euro, and newer options like the Chill line and the all-new Power Short.
- Choose high compression options for longer, harder rides when you are looking to push your limits.
- Shop all our high compression shorts here.
Moderate compression bike shorts for both comfort & performance
- We offer lots of options in moderate compression bike shorts: Peloton LTD, Touring, Wayfarer, Bike Bermuda & Holster Hi Rise, Rebel and Breakaway LTD.
- Choose moderate compression bike shorts when you value a little extra performance boost or support, but don’t want to compromise much in comfort.
- Shop all moderate compression shorts here.
Minimal compression bike shorts for comfort and forgiving fit
- Breakaway, Actif, and Club are among our bike shorts with minimal compression.
- Choose minimal compression if you want a more relaxed level of comfort, or don’t enjoy the pressure of athletic compression. Minimal compression options are also your best choice for flattering fits over curves that produce uncomfortable tightness in a compression fabric.
- Shop all minimal compression shorts here.
What to Wear For Bike Shorts With No Compression
- Loose fit bike shorts are a wonderful way to go for riders who want to avoid the lycra look, or just enjoy the relaxed, airy feeling. Others prefer the versatility of clothing that moves comfortably from cycling to completely different activities.
- Our Metro, Liberty, and Fixie lines are excellent places to start.